Several friends, acquaintances and family members have asked me why the NGO I work for is called the “Animus Association.” In fact, one of my new friends thought I worked for an NGO that helped stray cats & dogs, because she interpreted “animus” to mean working with animals. So I’ve decided to dig up the definition of the word and explain why it is applied to an organization that helps victims/survivors of trafficking for sexual exploitation and domestic violence.
Merriam Webster defines “animus” to mean:
Main Entry: anÂ·iÂ·mus
Etymology: Latin, spirit, mind, courage, anger
1 : basic attitude or governing spirit : disposition, intention
2 : a usually prejudiced and often spiteful or malevolent ill will
3 : an inner masculine part of the female personality in the analytic psychology of C. G. Jung â€” compare anima
*synonyms see enmity
In the case of this NGO’s usage of the word all 3 definitions apply.
(1) The organization is driven by a strong governing spirit that is compelled to help women who have been wronged through forced sexual exploitation & domestic violence. It is Animus’ intention to prevent these crimes from happening in the future, while also helping its victims.
(2) The logo of Animus is a witch on a broom. Witches are viewed as spiteful mythical/magical people. In this case many of these women who were victims of unimaginable crimes hold very ill will towards those who hurt them. Witches are also seen as women who simply challenged the status quo. As a result Animus turns this spite and ill will into action, and works to challenge the crime networks that promote and implement human trafficking by lobbying for government policy and educating the public.
(3) These women hold an inner strength, which some psychologists view as a more masculine trait. In reality, women are the stronger ones – they are the survivors.